Living With Kids: Natasha Golota

November 1, 2011

Sweden seems like a lovely place to live, doesn’t it? It tops nearly every list of the best countries in which to raise children because of its generous health care policies, enviable maternity and paternity leaves, and stroller access pretty much everywhere. And we can’t forget about IKEA! Talented photographer, blogger, and mom Natasha Golota agrees. She and her partner are celebrating their first year in their sunny, open home with their two young boys, and she wouldn’t live anywhere else. Unless, perhaps, it’s New York!

Please enjoy this small taste of Sweden.

Q: I love the bursts of purple throughout your living space! Are you always so bold with your color choices?

A: I usually like very basic natural colors when I decorate interiors, but I do fancy bright details. They don’t need to match at all, but their presence in a room makes the decor more interesting and brings several more layers into the decoration. I like unusual and uncommon colors, which is why I chose purple in the living room. It’s not one of my favorite colors – and in fact, I don’t even like it! – but it made such an adorable match with the bright green, and I couldn’t resist!

Q: What’s your favorite room in your home?

A: Our living room, which is joined with the kitchen, is definitely the room where we spend the most of the day. If I had to choose only one piece of furniture to have in my house, I would choose our sofa. I love our sofa. We sit and relax there with our boys, read books, watch TV, play games, nap, and our oldest son builds pillow towers. It’s truly the centerpiece of the room.

Q: How did you decide on the decor for your boys’ room?

A: I believe that having fun is the key to helping kids learn. That’s why letters, numbers, a map, and books were given prime attention in my boys’ room. Besides, my oldest son seemed to like stars very early, so I decided to stick with it; I found a nice carpet with matching curtains in a star theme. Then I sewed the flag garland from pieces of fabric and old jeans I had. The boys love this room! They don’t really share the bedroom yet since the little one is still sleeping in our bedroom. We plan to get them a bunk bed when they are ready to share the room.

We do have an extra bedroom, which we are using as an extra play room for the moment. I believe this may work until each of them will need their own space. Then they will get their own bedrooms.

Q: Are those decals on the wall?

A: Yes! I ordered them from Unik Decor. I ordered the alphabet and designed some of my own text. They have endless wall decor ideas, so I’m sure that won’t be the last time I place an order with them!

Q: Your home seems well-curated without a lot of clutter; do you think carefully before you add something?

A: “Keep it simple” is my motto. Sometimes, you need just a couple of things to make it personal. I like to keep rooms clear in order to make the house clean quickly. Such an ordinary reason! However, I would like to have more pictures and paintings on the walls; I think they make the room more cozy and welcoming.

Living in Sweden, of course, makes us frequent and proud visitors of IKEA. I never leave the store empty-handed! If I had all the money in the world, I would buy my furniture at BoConcept. I like their clean and simple design; it’s so much me.

Q: Tell us about your favorite art pieces in the home.

A: I like things that have some history to tell. The Dala horse – that colorful figure in the corner of our living room – is a very traditional Swedish statuette that can be found in almost every Swedish home. It’s become one of the most popular symbols of Sweden. The one we have comes from my partner’s family and is over 30 years old, and is unusually big in size.

Another favorite piece of art is my oldest son’s police booties; his first shoes which I framed. They always remind me of how tiny he once was. I already got matching booties for my youngest, too! They’ll be framed as soon as he outgrows them.

I also love the print next to the framed booties. It’s a quote from Winne The Pooh, which my oldest one adores. Thanks to Drew for it!

Q: What’s on your wish list?

A: I’m mad about all kinds of porcelain. Give me a place to store it and an unlimited budget, and I’d be happy!

Q: When does your home work best?

A: When the whole family is together. I believe design and decor are as important as functionality. In our home, we can cook, play games, listen to the music, talk to our boys’ grandparents via the computer all at the same time and almost in the same room! And it works.

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Didn’t you smile when she admitted she didn’t even like purple? She’s right, though; it does look adorable with green! Thank you, Natasha, for sharing such a delightful peek into your bright home.

P.S. — If you’d like to share your home with us in my Living With Kids series, drop me a note. I’d love to hear from you!

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Erica November 1, 2011 at 10:48 am

I love that sofa – where’s it from?

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2 Natasha November 2, 2011 at 4:12 am

I’m glad you like it! It’c very cozy and I love it. We bought it here : http://www.svenskahem.se/?id=240&catid=1391&prodid=7911 .

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3 Petit Elefant November 1, 2011 at 11:39 am

Everything about Sweden makes me jealous. The aesthetic, the family values, the whole thing. I think it’d be a lovely place to raise a family. So lovely.

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4 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag November 1, 2011 at 11:55 am

This was a delightful home tour! Ah Sweden, I agree with the last comment, it just seems like they have really figured out optimal family living over there!

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5 Karyl November 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Loooooooooooooooooooooove those green bean bags. Does anyone know where they’re from? :-)

Beautiful house! I love how clean and clutter free it looks, and I love the pops of color. Lucky kids to live in a house like that………

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6 Natasha November 2, 2011 at 4:18 am

Oh, thank you! We found those bean bags here: http://www.jysk.se/359/381/3612501/a/catalog . They actually were pretty cheap and my boys like to sit there. ;)

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7 Molly @thewaffler November 1, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Love how fresh and bright everything looks against the white walls. Such a happy environment.

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8 Sherri November 1, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Fresh and calm…. Love it. I have that Pooh quote – the “promise me you’ll remember me…” one – in my daughter’s room :-).

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9 Jason @ Chesterfield sofa November 1, 2011 at 5:12 pm

I just love the Swedish way, and these bright colours are just so invigorating>
It looks a happy happy house.

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10 kids phases November 1, 2011 at 6:03 pm

What a bright space and so clean too. I am impressed. I guess your idea of keeping it simple also keeps it easier to clean. And the bright colors make a great environ,ent for kids. I quite like it!

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11 Natasha November 2, 2011 at 4:25 am

You got it! :) I don’t like to spend much time to clean, however I like it when it’s clean! It’s convinient to have only what’s necessary.

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12 Jessica November 1, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Sweden is beautiful and I’m sure a wonderful place to live, but they pay outrageous amounts of taxes to pay for all those “wonderful” things. My aunt made more money on maternity leave than she did at her job. A little messed up I think. I’ll keep my money and pay the bills that I incur. Beautiful house though.

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13 Natasha November 2, 2011 at 4:34 am

That’s quite interesting what you are saying. I have never heard about anyone receiving more money on maternity leave then when working. But yes, we do pay high taxes and sometimes it’s absurd.

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14 Linda November 3, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Jessica,

I am a swede that also have been living in US. The tax difference between what we pay in California and Sweden only differs around 2-3%. I wouldn’t say that is an outrageous amount. In the end of the day as a family with kids we have more money left after all the bills are payed here in Sweden.

And the only way you can make more money while on Maternity leave is if you didn’t make any money at all the year before you gave birth. The lowest you can get is 180 Swedish krona per day, that is around 25 dollar. Otherwise it is 80% of your regular paycheck up until an amount. So people how have a high income might end up with just 60-70% of their paychecks. That is one of the reasons men tend not to use as many of the parent days as the moms, but they are still good and a lot of families split the days 50/50.

But you are right it is beautiful, at least sometimes. Right now it is pretty gray and dark. But hey soon Christmas is here to lighten things up.
I think the fact that we spend a lot of time inside during the dark season is one of the reasons Swedes often create light, natural, beautiful homes. Does that make sense?

Ooo sorry for the long comment, this is a subject I could keep going on forever. Living in different countries has given me some perspective and I learn not only about the new country I also learned a lot about my homecountry in the process. Things I wouldn’t have thought about if I had lived in Sweden my whole life.

Natscha, you got a lovely place!

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15 portlandsun November 1, 2011 at 9:24 pm

i am always drawn to the Dala horse. i adore this one in the corner. a great pop of color and a great tie to heritage. love it. great home all around.

as for Dala horses, after spotting this one years ago i cannot get it out of my mind – http://portlandsunshine.blogspot.com/2011/01/wilde-child-this-post-is-for-you.html.

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16 Natasha November 2, 2011 at 4:36 am

Haha, that one was good! :)

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17 portlandsun November 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm

a follow up post on this topic…

http://portlandsunshine.blogspot.com/2011/11/dala-fab.html

how cool?

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18 jeanne November 2, 2011 at 12:20 am

Sweden is so gorgeous. Stockholm is one of our favorite cities to visit. The residents have such style and the country is so clean. I know my husband would move there in a minute….in the summertime anyway. Oh and without the 60% income tax rate.

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19 Natasha November 2, 2011 at 4:38 am

Thank you! May be we could switch houses for a while! ;) We don’t live in Stockholm though. And I also adore summer here. It’s special! But winter darkness can be quite a challenge for many.

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20 Linda November 3, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Just have to jump in to say : A normal Swede have an income tax around 30%.

:)

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21 Eivor November 2, 2011 at 2:09 am

So funto see a typical scandinavian home on your blog! I have never lived in Sweeden, but grew up in Norway, close to the swedish border, and now I live in Denmark. But Scandinavian countries are very similar. And it really is a great place to live with children – though we pay for it through our high taxes. But I like it that way. Even though I´m dreaming of living in New York. Or France. Or my all time favourite city, Barcelona:) But thanks for reminding me of how good it actually is to live in Scandinavia:)
Eivor

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22 Natasha November 2, 2011 at 4:40 am

That’s exactly how I feel! I couln’t say it better myself. ;)

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23 Swedish Maria November 2, 2011 at 2:46 am

I live here and yes we are fortunate, and yes we pay a lot of taxes. But NO we don´t have a 60% income taxrate and NO it´s not possible to earn more money when you are on maternity leave than when you work. Typically you receive 80% of your income for 390 days/child. And there is a maximum amount you can receive, so if you have a very high salary you won´t even receive 80% of your income when you are on parental leave.

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24 All Unwound November 2, 2011 at 9:46 am

I love your house tours…I say that every house tour. This one is a WOW house though. I love the bright green and how it pops with the dark blue in the boy’s room. The kitchen and LR are great too.

I understand the desire to spend less time cleaning. But you must spend more time decluttering to get to that point? I really need a tutor for this. I love the clutter free look but honestly don’t know how to get there. TFS!!

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25 Natasha November 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm

I’m flattered! Thank you! :)

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26 Stoich91 November 2, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Wow! These are great ideas! And I LOVE LOVE the quote!

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27 Nina November 3, 2011 at 10:49 am

Beautiful home! I’ve been trying to find a nice looking ride-on for my soon 1 year old son – your “taxi” looks just perfect! Where did you get it?

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28 Natasha November 3, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Oh, when I saw it – it was love at first sight! This is my son’s favourite car. check google for “Marquant Classic Car” and you’ll find planty of those!

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29 Candice November 5, 2011 at 8:31 am

So, I was reading the comments and the one about making more money on maternity leave is interesting. Lets just say I make a $100 month – 30% goes toward taxes so I have $70 left. But on maternity leave I receive 80% of my gross paycheck so I have $80 left. So doesn’t that mean you can make more money on maternity leave?

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30 Natasha November 7, 2011 at 11:27 am

Unfortunatelly, you have to pay 30% taxes anyway, even when you receive only 80% of your regular paycheck.

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